Saturday, September 24, 2011

Re-reading some Old Posts

I have gone over a few posts from a few years ago and have some notes:

I am so happy to report that daughter Juno is coming up on her 6th year as a cancer survivor. Am one big and proud mama. The experiences between us has, since then, been "mama proud". I have met so many survivors since then and they have amazing stories about their lives since. I feel a kinship with them.

My friend Bonnie that I visited in Paris KY back in April, 2008 was recovering from her 6th treatment of breast cancer when I visited her. She passed away in July, 2010. My friend continues to be an inspiration to me. I do miss her physical presence.

And as a recap: In the Fall of 2008, I took my housemate to the San Antonio area to see his youngest brother and we traveled westward to New Mexico to stay with son in Socorro. That was the first time I had traveled with someone else in my trailer.

I retired from the work world in June, 2009. It's been an adjustment but I still manage to spend time in my little Casita. I took a few months and traveled northward through Nebraska, the Dakota, into Iowa with wonderful experiences and new friends.

Last November, I visited my brother in So Calif. I drove out - without the trailer. Stopped off along the way out I did see some old friends in Gallup, NM and took some time to do some sightseeing. I stopped in Socorro to see son, Jim, before heading home.

This year I made a trip to Mackinac Island for a wedding at the Grand Hotel in early August, with a couple of long-time girlfriends. It was a fast trip. The Grand Hotel is such a beautiful place and I did see some areas that I would like to go back and explore. Then I spent a week at Milford Lake with other Casita owners, just kibitzing. I am hoping to squeeze in a couple more short trips before it's time to winterize the trailer.

I did workamp last and this summer for Mary, owner of High Plains Camping in Oakley Ks. It was a great experience and I was doing activities that I liked doing. There was so much variety and the wonderful experience of meeting so many people.

In between trips, I am working on house repairs or maintenance projects, same with the trailer as I keep seeing things that I would like to have or improve upon. If I am taking it easy, it's reading a book or working on my ribbon wind socks.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

An Egg-Stravaganza Gathering

I joined 21 other Casita trailer owners at Farnum Creek Campground on Milford Lake, near Junction City Ks for 6 nights. Originally, the get-together was suppose to be at another campground but due to an abundance amount of water in Milford Lake, the area where we to gather was under water. The Corps of Engineers have been unable to release any water from the Lake due the "flood" stage of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers at this time. The Republican and Smokey Hill Rivers join together at Junction City, forming the Kansas River which later joins the Missouri River. Farnum Creek Campground had the same problem, but that Park's Loop A had fewer sites underwater and still gave us enough sites for all of us.

Another thing we had to be aware of was the accumulation of a dangerous blue-green algae in the water due to the Corps inability to let water out, as stated above. This algae has an unpleasant history of killing family pets and also causing the death of several people.

Prior to leaving, I wanted to get at least one of the new window shade awnings done. It didn't look like I could get both of them done, along with the cleaning, repairs, and stocking the trailer, plus getting set up at home. I used an idea submitted by Sue and Sandy, on the Casita Club Forum. I added extra grommets for the use of more suction cups to both the top and bottom when it is windy - think that comes from living in windy western Kansas. I wanted to try out my new coffee maker that is in a blue color to match a Casita blue.

Monday, (Labor Day) I woke up to a very cold morning - 44 degrees - brrrr.Couldn't wait to get through breakfast and get started on chores for today: clothes lined up, food items needed; getting hitching up jobs done; putting the water heater anod back in the water heater - the day is not going fast enough. A little excited - You bet I am. Only thing I couldn't get done was to put my "4 Winds Trailer Quilt" spare tire cover on the spare tire - it was getting late in the day and I was tired, so just left it off. It needs some repair work done anyway - the vinyl had dried out and was cracking. Hate the idea of doing a new one with the "4 Winds" quilt block on it. Juno came over for chicken enchilada dinner.

Tuesday, spent a lousy night trying to sleep and it was cold again - down to 48 degrees. I finished up the "hitching up" jobs. Oh boy, was I slow - Note to self: must get out and hitch up more often. Thank heavens for my checklist, as I forgot to do a couple of things. Oh heck, I am ready to go - let's do it! Housemate Jim, came out to check trailer's rear lights - oops forgot to plug trailer electrical cord into the truck!

I am heading to Farnum Creek Campground a day early. I am ready. Oh my gosh, I am really heading out and pulling Eggie. I am going over everything I might have forgotten . . . Doing okay there, stopped in Hays to pick up a few things, got back on Interstate 70 and headed east toward Junction City. It felt sooooo good. The only odd feeling was that I wanted to put on my flashers indicating a "slow moving vehicle". I drive around 60 mph and vehicles were flying by me at 75-80 mph! It's not a good feeling when you see someone coming up behind you and then they realize you are driving a whole lot slower than they are. I made it to Farnum Creek Campground around 5:15. Whew! (See next post on the week of activities.)

The Week At 2011 KS Egg-Stravangaza

What a great week - weather wise and event wise. I left my laptop at home and had my cellphone only for emergencies (most of the time didn't have any "bars" anyway). As my daughter said: "You are going to be unplugged?" YES, YES, YES.

It was a week to talk face to face with others, be entertained and entertain. I learned so much more about those that I already knew and some interesting little life experiences from those that were new to me. And, there were a number that I knew through the Casita forums but had not had a chance to meet in person. I felt like I was living as humans were suppose to live!

We'd meet in the mornings for coffee at the host's site. Some days there were a few activities planned and other days there wasn't much. We'd get together in the evenings for grilling or potluck or both then we'd gather around a campfire to chat more. We had lunch together at a Mexican restaurant in Junction City one day and it was so good I went back two days later to have another of their margaritas and a chimichanga with green chili sauce.

We toured each others trailers and picked up ideas. I got so many ideas myself. I shared my new outside window shades that I made, my sandbags (blue things on ground) to hold down the awning strap. I took some of my ribbon windsocks (hanging off awning in picture of trailer) and sold 9 of them - got my extra 2 nights paid for plus my 2 lunches.

I decided to go a day earlier and stay a day longer leaving on Monday. Glad I did as so many others had chosen to do the same thing. Three Casitas were already there when I arrived on Tuesday and nine of us stayed over until the following Monday. There were 21 Casitas altogether with a few leaving on Saturday, one arriving on Saturday and the others leaving on Sunday, with our friend Rob coming in late Saturday night after the gates closed. He stayed in his trailer outside the gate. He was suppose to be with us from the beginning but needed to do a series of medical tests in Houston that week and drove like h*** to join us.

Lot of the folks had Larry G do some new mods (modifications for those not familiar with the term in RVland). Larry has been around Casitas quite a few years and has a little business to help Casita owners with repairs or mods. He travels the Casita Rally circuit. I had him come look at my ceiling fan, which had quit working. He didn't have the potential parts needed and I ended up calling the manufacturer for the parts - which they would send to my home at no cost to me. Great folks at Fantastic Fan. Anyway, Larry didn't charge me 'cause he couldn't get it fixed. I bought a new high rise faucet for the kitchen sink which I had been wanting. Had a little bit of trouble putting it on, but it worked and Larry came by later and checked everything out. [Note: fan is still not fixed as had unloading things to do and then hurt my lower back- not unloading the trailer.]

Some of the mods I can do is to make a clothes drying rack to attach to the rear bumper, when parked; extend my weather station pole up another 2 to 4 feet and make a holder for it; use a 7/16th socket wrench to hold an acorn nut when putting in a new rivet around the cabinets (takes two people to do that) inside; use stainless steel screws to replace rivets in upper refrig outside vent so can clean easier; do a gray water tank air vent release; and get some long painting roller poles to give side support to the awning when it's extended. Oh, and perhaps a flag holder for my three flags I put out front on the trailer - American, Kansas and a Pink ribbon flag. I was able to add 4 more survivors names to my Pink Ribbon Flag.

We had lots of time to just visit and share and lots of time to ourselves if we chose. Am glad I went and I have it down on my calender for next year at the same time. Only next time, I'll either wear long pants the whole time and/or spray my legs so they won't get bit 50+times by black flies. Oh my, do they itch (scratch, scratch).

Thanks to Jan T of Sister Act Photography, Council Grove KS for the group photos at the beginning and end of the video and the one of Eggie and I. I apologize for the fuzzyness in the pictures, if you go full screen.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bro & I Live Back in Time

He's been my brother for 66 years now and I wouldn't trade him for any other guy. Oh ya, there were times when we were growing up - who doesn't with their sibling(s). I remember dad boosting me up to look through the window in mom's hospital room to see my new brother. I don't know if I understood about having to share space and my parents attention but it has worked out good.

Well, the males made it through the 9 days together. And Bro wasn't leaving until the following Tuesday, so we had some time to go exploring. Tuesday we had an honest-to-goodness tornado threat and the tornado sirens went off. My brother was getting an education on Kansas weather. He made it through the tense moments.

Wednesday, he and I went to the Ellis Museum, which is primarily about the railroad history of the town. I was primarily interested in any pictures of the 100 year flood that took place in 1957. There were a few pictures available showing many existing buildings that are still standing. My little house went through that flood and one or two others in it's lifetime. The creek that contributed to the flooding is called Big Creek. Daughter's house is located along the Creek and there is a marker on a light pole marking the depth of the Creek at that time during the flooding. Her whole street and houses along both sides were flooded. And the bed of the creek is around 35 feet below the base of her flooring.

Bro had also seen some old vehicles in the back yard of the local lumber yard. We went by to get permission to take some pictures. Several of the vehicles are owned by the Walter P. Chrysler Boyhood Home & Museum and they don't have any place to store them inside, so the local lumber yard is keeping them for the Museum. A number of vehicles donated to the Museum have been donated by the Walter P family. There is a circa 1940 delivery van, 1950's Dodge carryall and a 50's De Soto.

Thursday, we drove out to see Monument Rocks (also known as the Chalk Pyramids), Keystone Gallery, Fick Fossil Museum in Oakley, along with the Buffalo Bill Bronze Statue, telling how BB got his name; and, take him to see where I have workamped at High Plains Camping the last two summers and to meet the owner and Neighbor Mike. On the way to the Keystone Gallery, we passed the ghost town of Elkader - uh oh that got my bro's interest. When he got home he dug into the history of the area.

Friday was spent doing household chores. Bro asked if I had a box as he said there was no way he could get all his clothes back in the bag the efficient way his wife packed his bag. So we packed a box of dirty clothes and sent them home.

Saturday, bro and I went to see Cowboy and Alien. I liked that movie.

Sunday, daughter, bro and I went to the Blue Sky Farm that raises miniature horses. It was interesting and the owners, Marion and Donna, told us a lot of interesting information about miniature horses and all about their horses.

We also took carriage rides.

And, I had to get some "family" pictures:

And then it was time to say good by (until next time) at the train station back in Dodge City. It was so much fun catching up, talking about funny things that had happened when we were youngsters and learning some more about each other.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Great Having My Brother Visit

My brother lives in So. Calif., in a quagmire of buildings, traffic, people and everything else I don't like compacted into small spaces - i.e. it's crowded. He doesn't like it either, but for various reasons still lives there. His children and grandkids live in the area and he adores those grandkids. The inability to see his grandkids in almost 3 weeks, wore on him especially towards the end of the visit. I think he missed one of his cats even more! Kitcat. This picture is pretty much of what I saw of Kitcat on my visit last November.

We don't get to see each other very often, although seeing him twice in 9 months is a very special treat for us. He is younger than I am. I love him to death, but I must admit my sister-in-law does a pretty dang good job of putting up with him every day! He has one of those come-back wits that make you careful about what you say or you find your foot in your mouth right away. He loves history and while here brought out interesting little tidbits that I didn't know or even realize. Over the years I have lived in this little town, he has sent me things - old postcards, a plate from the 1930's, souvenir spoon from even earlier, a soda pop bottle from a local bottling company that survived for a couple of years in the 1930's - he has bought on eBay. He has also sent me some re-productions of 1870's topography maps of the area. All these items were gone over, discussed and became learning points of interest of the history of this area.

Fran is my brother's name, short for Francis. Fran was here to help my housemate Jim with what was needed while I went to Michigan for a friend's daughter's wedding - posted earlier. In early July, it became apparent that my housemate was going to need a male-type minor surgery. And, concern was that it would be like the last one he had several years ago - painful and uncomfortable. As the days went by, it looked like the minor surgery was going to be the week before I left for Michigan. Fran popped up and said if everything could be worked out, he would come and stay with Jim. Well, it worked out. As it turned out, Jim's minor surgery was even less than minor; but Fran came anyway. I am glad he did.

Fran hates to fly and he decided to come by Amtrak to Dodge City. Even though he had a sleeper roomette, he said it was pretty bad and didn't get much sleep. I had reserved a room for us at a local motel. The Amtrak was two hours late (in the middle of early morning), was around 3:30 a.m. when we finally got to bed. We slept a bit late the next morning and met my friend Sarah for breakfast. I was going to Michigan with Sarah. That's Sarah with the pink flamingos on her birthday last year. She collects pink flamingos.

Since we were in Dodge City, we had to visit Boot Hill Museum - watched a gunfight, had lunch, wandered through the buildings learning about Dodge's early history. Since I use to live there, I talked about additional history of what I had learned; we went on a tour of the Santa Fe Railroad Depot/Harvey House/Theater. That was really interesting as I had been in the building several times before the renovation work and to see all that has been done is great. I have been to a number of productions put on by The Depot Theater Company in the beautiful Theater.

The next few days at home was time spent getting adjusted - where the local grocery store is located, daughter Juno's house, letting her dog Buster become acquainted, where WalMart and other businesses in Hays are located etc as he was going to use my pickup while I was gone. And, visit some historical sites around the area too. Fran, Juno and I visited the Ellis County Historical Museum on Sunday before I left. I was wanting to see some pictures on the 100-year flood of 1957 that devastated Hays as well as my little town, but there weren't any pictures or information on display. Although, we almost had one while we were there. A storm dumped a couple of inches that afternoon, while we were at the Museum, and my backyard was flooded when we got home.

Okay, here is where wedding trip would be inserted. Next posting is when I got home and what we did.

Friday, September 2, 2011

What Bro and I did Coming Up Next . . .

I know, I know, I am slow getting my bro's visit posted; but hey the weather turned hot and I decided to catch up on the Spring maintenance work, on the trailer, I didn't get done in the Spring; got started on some of my Fall maintenance work, repair a few things that needed to get done so I could finish the project I started; and I added some EZE Guard to the sides of the trailer to direct a light rain or morning dew to the ends of the trailer. Oh, trailer has it's Fall wax coat too; and the top and underside of the awning have been cleaned, tires inflated, window rain/shade covers made. Now that it's going to cool off - oh I heading east to Milford Lake (over near Manhattan KS), about 4 hours from home - and met with around 30/40 other Casita trailer owners for 4 or 5 days. Not taking my laptop either. So either before I leave or afterwards. ..

Will post in a few days. Have some "jobs" to do around the house and trailer that I need to get done. Just finished re-venting the dryer that included 18 feet of new aluminum venting. Am planning on attending a Casita Rally after Labor Day.